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Author Topic: Tsunami effects on west coast  (Read 4988 times)

Tom

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Tsunami effects on west coast
« on: March 11, 2011, 12:42:34 PM »
I've been watching live helicopter news feeds of the Tsunami reaching the Santa Cruz harbor. A number of vessels broke away from their moorings, a couple of vessels sank, one was carried out to sea, and several docks were damaged. The largest of the first 3 reported surges was 6-8 feet at a speed of 14 knots.

Anyone who has moored at Santa Cruz knows that, due to its design, this harbor is continually subject to 1-2 feet surge. But locals were caught unprepared when they ignored the tsunami warning issued for 7-8 am today.

Further north, Pillar Point harbor at Half Moon Bay was bracing for a large surge, but it turned out to be minimal.

I heard that Crescent City had some serious surge, but haven't seen/heard any details.

This tsunami was catalyzed by yesterday's large earthquake off the coast of Japan.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2011, 01:13:59 PM by Tom »
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bucks2

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2011, 01:06:27 PM »
I was amazed at how horrific the tsunami was going to be. One reporter on either CNN or MSNBC as I flipped back and forth, reported that it would be as tall as 20 feet travelling at 600 miles per hour. Some were predicting this would be the event of a lifetime as the tsunami came ashore. Schools were closed and businesses abandoned per the panicky reporters. A reporter in Oregon reported that "every business is closed and dark" in preparation for the surge. This at 6 am. Aren't most businesses closed and dark at that hour?

As the morning progressed they were still spreading panic about the west coast when it had already passed by Hawaii with "reported 7 foot waves". Wasn't there anyone that could go look? If there is a fire somewhere we have on the scene pictures before all the fire engines arrive. How many hurricane videos are there. Yet not one cameraman was on scene to show the "devastating" tsunami headed toward the west coast of the US. One weatherman did everything but hyperventilate reporting how serious and dangerous this was going to be.

Our 24 hour news has forgotten how to factually report the news. It's all about hype and hoopla.

Now, having said that, there are hundreds dead and some remarkable destruction in Japan. And there is some damage in California. I'm guessing the poorly protected marinas that have deteriorated docks are the ones we're being shown.
Just my opinion, and I've been wrong before.

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Lou Schneider

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2011, 01:16:23 PM »
Quote
Our 24 hour news has forgotten how to factually report the news. It's all about hype and hoopla.

Guess what - it's working as designed.   The station that screams the loudest gets the biggest audience.   And the audience is what they're selling - to the companies that pay the station to air their commercials.   The more people in the audience, the more they can charge for the commercials.  If they can keep your eyes for longer than 15 minutes it's just that much more money in the bank.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2011, 01:18:00 PM by Lou Schneider »

Marc L

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2011, 01:17:20 PM »
Our 24 hour news has forgotten how to factually report the news. It's all about hype and hoopla.

The stations broadcast 24 hours, but it's not exactly 24 hour news.  The same content gets repeated.
Marc...

carson

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2011, 01:25:49 PM »
Tom, thanks for your post. I guess a tsunami size can be any ones guess. I certainly will not be anything but scared out of my pants, if I lived in a vulnerable area.

  One thing I learned today that a cross-ocean tsunami will move at the the speed of a Jet-liner...600-700mph.

Don't ask me to provide proof.   :)

  I suppose the speed of the actual wave hitting the shore is much reduced in speed having been slowed substantially by the shore to sea incline.

  I am sure a tsunami expert will bob to the surface on this forum to clear things up.

  What me worry?..I live in Florida elevation 100', 4 miles from the water.

carson
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Tom

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2011, 01:28:59 PM »
Aye Carson, I don't think anyone can predict the height or force of a tsunami, even if they observe it going by Hawaii. San Francisco was bracing itself this morning, but experienced very little surge. Santa Cruz isn't very far south, and the damage is still occurring there.

Folks shouldn't underestimate the power of the ocean, and it's best to be safely on high ground with no tsunami than to be at sea level with one of those powerful surges coming in.

Several years ago we found ourselves in treacherous seas south of San Francisco. The forecast was dead wrong, and there were 28 foot seas that afternoon, causing us to head for refuge at Half Moon Bay. I was convinced we'd capsize as we made the U-turn into the harbor and took the seas broadside. All the commercial fishermen were caught by the same incorrect forecast and followed us in. The following morning there were 43 foot waves outside the harbor. One fisherman told me he was caught 25 miles offshore and was convinced he was going to die.

Harbor design/protection certainly has some impact. Santa Cruz harbor is open directly to Monterey Bay, whereas Half Moon Bay has two sets of breakwaters across the entrance.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2011, 01:30:35 PM by Tom »
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Honest John

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2011, 01:42:21 PM »
From the things I have heard and read a tsunami is almost invisible as it crosses the ocean in deep water.  once it gets into shallower water the wave begins to build so that it can be seen.  Also the impact of the tsunami upon any given shoreline has a lot to do with whether it comes straight in or at an angle and upon the topography of the location.

I believe that I've heard that the worst locations are ones that have a bay that faces directly into the wave so as the wave arrives the full force is captured in the bay and becomes more focused and compressed as it moves into the bay.  My understanding is this is why it is so hard to predict where the wave will have the more severe impact, as opposed to a location nearby that hardly notices it.

I have no special knowledge of tsunamis, bu t this is what I believe I have learned from educational programs and reading.   ::)
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Tom

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2011, 01:45:27 PM »
Honest John,

You just became our defacto tsunami expert  ;D
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Carl L

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2011, 02:11:11 PM »
There is a Hawaiian-based NOAA network of deep water buoys in the Pacific that is designed to pick up and track the tsunami wave train as it crosses the Pacific.    What is moving 500-600mph  is the wave train front of the tsunami not the mass of water.  The water molecules in waves move in circular orbits until the wave breaks as it shoals.  Then the circular orbits disintegrate into straight line trajectories and the entire mass runs up onto the shore.   That mass will be moving along 20-25 mph but with tremendous force.
 
 At sea, the entire wave train will have a low height, but a miles long length.   The buoy wave gauges pick up the anomalous wave easily -- it will be completely different than the general patterns of swells and seas.

 
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

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Marc L

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2011, 02:42:49 PM »
Ok, John got demoted and Carl got promoted.
Marc...

Honest John

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2011, 03:48:44 PM »
I'm thinking that carl Googled Tsunami and then copied stuff in there just to make me look bad.   ;D ;D ;D
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Carl L

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2011, 04:06:04 PM »
Carl has a bachelors degree and some graduate work in geology and a few years of field experience in California.   And out here in California, seismology is a spectator sport.   We can take a picnic lunch and go watch the North American Plate grind against the East Pacific Plate just outside of town.

Google hell!  However, I will admit to a bit of judicious Wikipedia-ing.   8)
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Marc L

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2011, 04:11:23 PM »
First US casualty, well the first I heard about:  http://abcnews.go.com/US/california-man-swept-sea-tsunami/story?id=13112901


EDIT to add:  Actually he is not reported dead since they have not found him yet, but his chances are not great.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2011, 04:15:06 PM by Marc L »
Marc...

Honest John

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2011, 04:22:18 PM »
Marc,

The article sounds like mother nature's natural selection at work.  Here is some interesting info too.
http://nctr.pmel.noaa.gov/honshu20110311/
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Marc L

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2011, 04:24:50 PM »
You are right John.  Mother Nature selects a few on the shores of Peggy's Cove each year too.  Sounds like a natural phenomena.
Marc...

Betty Brewer

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2011, 04:49:25 PM »
  What me worry?..I live in Florida elevation 100', 4 miles from the water.

Carson,

I think I heard that the tsunami reached inland 6 miles in one place. 

Betty
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carson

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2011, 04:59:42 PM »
Betty,  A huge tsunami attacking Florida would submerge a lot of FL. Luckily my house is on one the few mountains...err hills here, 100' elevation. Yet 1 mile from my house downhill would be at 7' ASL.(above sea level).   Japan, what a tragedy.

carson

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Len and Jo

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2011, 09:54:54 PM »
Well, it didn't reach Michigan.  I went down to The River and all I saw was chunks of ice bobbing around.  Looked south into Canada and all I saw was a couple Canadians drinking beer and sun bathing.  It's above 32F and summer has come to the mid-west!!!!
Len & Jo
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Mexray

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2011, 10:15:37 PM »
That fellow that tried to take some pic's of the tsunami near the Klamath River should be a candidate for the Darwin Awards... http://www.darwinawards.com/  Just another case of 'Nature' thinning out the herd... ???
Ray & Pat near Lodi, CA...

wmcintosh

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2011, 11:19:45 PM »
5 were swept away on Oregon and California coast (as posted by Marc L).
http://www.koinlocal6.com/news/local/story/Tsunami-sweeps-5-out-to-sea-in-Oregon-and/NP4mzoo5jEmqzJnQw7BD3g.cspx

Most damage was north of SF bay to far Southern Oregon coast.

bucks2

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2011, 10:53:57 AM »
The Today show coverage this morning, said that as many as 6 boats capsized. The damage they were able to show wasn't even close to the 600 mph tsunami, or the 6 foot wall of water, that they predicted. Still bad for those involved, but nothing like the hype they were giving it yesterday for the west coast of the US. The coverage of the damage in Japan is amazing to watch.
Just my opinion, and I've been wrong before.

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Tom

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2011, 11:17:26 AM »
National news networks don't have a good handle on local events and, at best, rely on 2nd or 3rd hand reports.

I didn't see any hype on our local news, and the local emergency alert systems weren't activated. However, if San Francisco Bay had seen the 6-8 foot surges that Santa Cruz saw, and if they continued up river, I have no doubt that we'd have experienced some damage. There's no way our boat dock could have sustained an 8 foot surge, although it was rebuilt to a much higher spec than the original, and our boat would have broken away, probably taking out several neighbor's boats and docks.

Timing is everything and, if the surge occurred at high tide and came up river, we'd have experienced some serious damage in the house. This would also have been a good test for our 100-year levee, although I suspect that a number of levees between us and San Francisco would have gone first.

We saw no need to panic, but kept monitoring what was happening at the coast. One of the local TV channels had their helicopter providing live video all morning. With a surge of less than a foot through the Golden Gate, we knew we'd be just fine.

What the west coast saw is obviously nothing compared with events in Japan, the full extent of which are not yet known. But, if you're the one guy who's life was lost ....
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 11:27:00 AM by Tom »
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Tom and Margi

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2011, 12:15:44 PM »
Public safety officials in Oregon were very pleased with the emergency response planning which went off without a hitch.  Local TV stations were not as hyper as some of the networks and provided vital information during a very uncertain time. 
 
We will have tsunamis in the future and we will have earthquakes, so it's difficult to understate the urgency of such unpredictable events without reverting to what might seem like hype and hoopla.
 
Margi

carson

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2011, 12:39:50 PM »
Tom, you said it all...

Quote
There's no way our boat dock could have sustained an 8 foot surge, although it was rebuilt to a much higher spec than the original, and our boat would have broken away, probably taking out several neighbor's boats and docks.

  Imagine several good-size boats tied to a pier.  There goes to pier with a 6-8 foot swell.

Even smaller boats, tied up, using 1'2"- 3/4" in mooring lines used on moderate sailboats, ..There go the boats.
 
   Since my boating days are over I feel blessed now.

carson FL


 
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RoyM

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2011, 12:53:59 PM »
I watched some of it on tv and was astounded at the speed and force of the water. :o We were on watch here but the tsunami had little effect. Three foot waves off the west coast of VI but no damage as it hit during low tide. One politico was howling that the provincial government did do enough soon enough to warn everyone about the risk. A government minister replied they wanted to assess the real risk before sending everyone into the panic mode which was the sensible thing to do.
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Theberrys

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #25 on: March 12, 2011, 01:07:29 PM »
This is the obvious answer  8)
Buy one of these and "No Worries"  ::)
 
http://www.terrawind.com/terrawind.htm    ;D
Dick

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Tom

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #26 on: March 12, 2011, 05:48:39 PM »
OK for a calm lake, but methinks that Terrawind would be toast in even the smallest of tsunamis.
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Alaskansnowbirds

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #27 on: March 12, 2011, 06:16:37 PM »
I had duty on-board ship in Pearl Harbor when the 1964 Alaska earthquake hit. They didn't know if we would get hit by the tsunami. They had us extend the mooring lines by what they thought the surge would be plus two feet. It turned out to be pretty much a non event at Pearl.
Don & Peg
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Tom

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2011, 06:48:20 PM »
This one was quite different Don, and they had less time to react, given the proximity to shore of the quake.
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Tom

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Re: Tsunami effects on west coast
« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2011, 06:53:40 PM »
I've experienced a number of earthquakes, the worst being the Loma Prieta quake of 1989. It pales in comparison with the one that hit Japan this week. But I'd still prefer to face an earthquake than a tsunami. There's a good chance of surviving a quake, but a tsunami will wipe out everything in its path.
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